Gothic Art



Gothic art was an artistic expression from The Late Middle Ages (12th century) that lasted until the Renaissance. Called the cathedral art, it was held in the cities. It was a reaction to the Romanesque style and intended to rival the monasteries and basilicas that were built in the field. This is because, at that time, the cities began to grow because of the economy based on trade.

Previously, collective experiences were concentrated in the field, and the monasteries consisted of places of intellectual and artistic development. The historical landmark of this movement occurred in the vicinity of Paris when the Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis was built between 1137 and 1144. This basilica is considered the first building with characteristics of Gothic art, as its facade with three portals leading to the three ships within the church. Later, the Gothic architecture will expand to England, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the Iberian Peninsula.

However, this exceptional art was only possible after the solidification of the monarchies. This allowed commercial and Urban Development, leading to the development of trade routes and further favoring the growth of cities. The resources for such magnificent works were obtained through the contributions of the faithful, especially those who made up the rising bourgeoisie.

Therefore, Gothic art marks the triumph of cities, where the Church realizes it has the support of a large portion of the faithful, for whom it will build cathedrals. They represented symbols of the political power of the church and economic power of the bourgeoisie. It will be the cathedrals that exalt the beauty of the divine ideal, through a harmony permeated by religiosity.

Origin of the term ‘Gothic'”

When it was created, this artistic style was not titled “Gothic.” The time was created later when Renaissance Giorgio Vasari referred in a derogatory way to this type of art in the 16th century.

He draws a parallel with the Goths, a barbarian people who invaded and destroyed Rome in 410. In this way, he expresses his rejection of this genre of art.

Later the term was incorporated, lost its character and became related to the architecture of the curvilinear arches.

Gothic Architecture

Gothic architecture is the result of technological advances made by builders ‘ corporations. They managed to master geometrization and its mathematical relations with a distinct goal: verticality, as they sought a direction to heaven. The architecture was the primary expression of Gothic art, and it will be tied to painting and sculpture. The dematerialization of the walls, now thinner and lighter, as well as the distribution of light in space, made possible by a more significant number of vans and windows, allowing for a freer and luminous space.

Mystical light and greatness constitute the vehicle for communion with the divine. The arc at Ponta and the rosacea-also called the mandala-will to be attributed continuously present in this architectural style, which seeks to replace Romanesque horizontalism with gothic verticality.

Gothic Sculpture

The gothic sculpture also expresses the desire for verticality. However, it also sketches naturalism capable of attributing movement and life to statues, which are almost always a compliment to architecture.

It was also common to have sculptures of monsters or human figures on the roofs of Gothic churches to drain the rainwater. These representations are called gargoyles.

Gothic Painting

The gothic painting will clearly outline itself in the mid-1350 when it takes place outside the architecture, to which it adorned murals, frescoes, and stained glass. In any case, she sought to convey the same naturalism and religious symbolism of sculpture and architecture. The stained glass windows, colored pieces of glass joined by lead, were intended to thrill the viewer and teach him about the Catholic religion. More autonomously, the painting will develop in the illuminations of the manuscripts, where the volume will approach the sculptural forms that adorn the cathedral.

It is widespread, in these paintings, to replace the light with Golden backgrounds, as well as the figuration of low-volume religious characters. Among the great exponents of the Gothic art are the Italian Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337) and the Dutch Jan Van Eyck (1390-1441).